Trigger are shorter than gates but not at all less important, there are dedicated use cases for both. So what are triggers and gates good for? An ADSR will always stay behind its potential if only used with triggers. Because of the circuit that is responsive to not only the rising edge of an input signal but also utilizes information from the duration the input is receiving a signal. In an ADSR it is the Sustain stage that using the information of a longer input signal. Nevertheless there are lots of applications that don’t use the information of the gate length and only respond to a rising edge of a voltage. This is the case with AD envelopes, clock dividers, sync inputs on VCOs and LFOs and most drum modules. Today we are having a look at trigger sequencers. These are often designed to be sequencing drums, with features that are known from sequencing musical events outside the eurorack world.
For this text we are looking at very simple concepts as well as much more complex ones. Three different approaches in different price, size and user interfaces. All feature 4 to 8 tracks with corresponding outputs.
Keep it simple and efficient: Delptronics – Trigger Man (v2)
The Trigger Man is a small and handy trigger sequencer with eight tracks, each with eight steps. It features a Euclidian mode and a step sequencing mode, both operated with the two push-encoders. The outputs can not only output triggers but also gates in different lengths, to do this each output can be configured independently. To get some variation into the static 8-step sequences you can set the global mode to pattern chain mode and connect up to 100 patterns in a row, or set the multifunctional CV socket to either select the active pattern, to shift the pattern or to control the sequence complexity, depending on the mode of operation. Lots of triggers in a small space and a very fair price. Here is a short video of an early prototype of the Trigger Man, but the video shows all the basic functionality and gives an idea of the fast and versatile pattern generation possibilities of this module. You can store the patterns and settings, so that you are able to switch your rack off and turn it on the next day and continue your work, but there is no dedicated memory for more than the eight current sequences. However it is the most fun to quickly run through the Euclidian sequences and find new interesting combinations anyway, it is fast intuitive and rewarding – so what else are you wishing for?
The performer: Shakmat Modular – Four Bricks Rook
The Four Bricks Rook is a 32-step trigger sequencer dedicated to drum triggering. And it brings pretty much everything to the table you could wish for when not looking for TR-Style step-sequencing. It offers four tracks that can be filled with triggers in several ways. One interesting and not so often found thing in eurorack is unquantized tap input recording. What might be a (my) too complicated description of a simple thing, is very useful for bringing some human imperfections to the perfect timing of your machine. If these imperfections is not what you are looking for it is also possible to quantize what you tapped in by hand. There is a huge memory for the rhythms you created and you can use them and re-record them in very interesting ways – and everything can be done while playing back the sequences. Watch the video below to find out what exactly is possible with this module, as it is way too complex to describe here. This really is a very versatile performance orientated module, even the stored sequences can be utilized as performance elements, but again…watch the video.
The shiny one: The Steady State Fate / Erogenous Tones – GateStorm
The GateStorm is a very complex module with a big screen to show you what it is doing at all times, which helps a lot with the multitude of possibilities. In general, the GateStorm is a 8-track trigger and gate sequencer. But the number of CV and gate inputs give a hint of the enormous creative potential that is hiding behind the big colorful screen. Well, it is not really hiding because the screen shows you pretty much everything that the GateStorm is doing in real time. The eight outputs can be seen as two different groups. Group one is for complex trigger and gate sequencing, and group two is for more static sequences, for example clock divisions and multiplications. What makes these outputs way more interesting than simple clock dividers is the fact that the outputs can have a user selected probability (and more). That means that you can control how reliable a clock pulse is generated, very good to keep patches alive. And additionally these outputs can be fed through four different logic lanes. And now it should be clear that even the so called ‘simple outputs’ are way more versatile and complex than many other trigger sequencers. And all this is even controllable with CV through the six CV inputs with attenuators that can be routed to lots of parameters (even more than one parameter at a time). To describe the complex outputs short: Set your sequence lenght, gate length, activate individual gates and and and. It really is too much to be discussed here. Watch the video below and all the other introductiory videos online to get an idea. This is a module for anyone who likes to get a visual feedback of what he or she is programming, anyone who needs lots of CV control over his gate sequences and clocks and anyone who likes colorful screens.
What has to be said about all these modules is that they have more functionality than can be described here, so watch the videos, or even better: come to Schneidersladen showroom and check them out in person.
And of course there are way more options than these! Find them here.
This is by no means a complete overview of available modules nor a full review of the discussed modules. The what about… text are here to give you new ideas and maybe another perspective on things. All these modules offer more features than we have talked about in this post. For further information please click the provided links or – even better – visit the shop and ask the SchneidersLaden experts in the showroom.